Friday, August 24, 2012

Our one week Colorado RV trip. Seeing the best in a short time!

We had a great week in Colorado as we took our newly made over RV out for a spin!  We spent a week touring the Western slope and the mountains in Colorado and it was FABULOUS!  I will post our photos when I get a chance.  In the meantime here was our itinerary.  It was a great way to spend the week checking out some of the best Colorado has to offer!
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Photo courtesy of
We hit Pagosa Springs (hot springs) which we LOVED!! A wonderful place for family to play, ride bikes, fish, swim in the hot springs or warmed river.... We will defiantly be going back

Then onto Ouray Colorado for some more swimming at the local hot springs pool.  The surrounding mountains are beautiful!  It is also home to some amazing ice climbing competitions in the winter.
Photo courtesy of Ouray Hot Springs Pool

From there we headed to Durango and onto Palisade for the Peach festival!  Palisade is near Grand Junction and it is famous for it's peach orchards, vineyards, and wineries. They also grow a host of other fruits, almonds and other produce.  We had a GREAT time at a little upick peach orchard.  It was $1 a pound and you could eat as much as you wanted in the meantime.  For an Alaskan born girl it was paradise!  The other highlight was the live band and FREE peach ice cream sundaes Thursday night!
Palisade Peach Festival
For a full schedule visit Palisade peach fest
Next we headed to the Vail Valley where Josh and I had met and spent 6 years.  We love the Vail Valley and even on a dime it was a blast.  We stayed with friends for part of the time, Rode bikes all through Vail and Lionshead near the river, played in the many parks, fished in the lake in Avon, swam at the Avon Rec Center which sported a huge indoor water slide, lazy river and kiddie pool!  We also hit Beaver Creek where we just wandered around a bit and ate the best Galatea ever!  By this time I kept forgetting the camera since we were having so much fun.  I will post photos later but in the meantime here are a few photos of the Vail valley.

All of these gorgeous photos are from the visit Vail site.

It was a GREAT trip!  We rounded it out with a stop in Denver to see friends and a mandatory trip to IKEA!! Looking forward to sharing more photos later.Photobucket

Monday, August 13, 2012

Making Your Own DIY Day Planner! Tons of Free Tutorials & Printables!

A good planner is one that you enjoy and suits your needs.  Need a section for homeschool?  How about a blog post section to keep track of you ideas for future posts and schedule them out, as well as all the regular weekly and monthly calendar sections.  I am putting my own together and thought you might enjoy making use of all these free printables I am finding to put it together with.  Adding in fun things like smaller tear out shopping lists, pretty scrap book paper, envelope or pocket pages etc.. add in what you can't just go buy at walmart.  Make it yours!

A variety of great homeschool planners can be found at this roundup of free homeschool planners here at re we there yet?

The homeschool one I used is a simplified planner with just the daily schedule, goals, a list for attendance and list for books read, and curriculum.  It doesn't include a daily sheet for planning each day of work.  I am using the regular week planner for that.
I love these free 2012, and 2013 printable calendar fromCreative Mama This would make a really cute monthly calendar planner or scale it down to fit in your smaller day planner between your weekly pages.

For  the weekly pages I like this printable from Sofia's World

I also love the simplicity and size of this simple free printable weekly planner by Anderson Family Crew.

This great year at a glance calendar covering 2012 and 2013 is from a blog planner by Homeschool Creations and it is page 2 if that is all you want to print from it.

I love this blog post planner another free printable by Confessions of a Homeschooler!  SO CUTE.
Free Menu Planner Printable$Free printable Menu PlannerFree Printable Menu Planner/Grocery List
I have included a list of links to cute  menu planners if you want to include those as well here at Pinterest.

Once you print out the sheets you want to include you can add random pieces of scrapbook paper for notes and cuteness factor, pocket pages, dividers, and anything else you want.  Then you can take it to your local office supply store to have it bound (only $1 here for comb bound!).  Some people make their own cover from cardboard covered in scrap book paper or use a vinyl cover. You also have the option of just using a 3 ring binder or punching holes and using ring clips.

Here are two blogs who did a great job making their own.  I have included them so you can get any inspired ideas from them.

Here is one from Apple Head Threads. I love this detailed explanation on how she made hers and what she included.

Craftee Finished Dividers with Labels
Here is another crafty planner from Craftee that has great ideas for the dividers!

Check out this cute small planner with tutorial from ahhh-design

She also has a great tutorial for binding it yourself HERE!
Have fun and be sure to let me know how yours turns out or if you found any great free printables to add!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Improve Your Marriage! GROUP DISCOUNT to "Weekend to Remember"

If any of you have been tracking with me you know I have been trying to do the "Love Dare".  The marriage improving book that was written to go with the movie "Fireproof".  It is a 40 day dare with each day sharing a new marriage building principle and giving you a dare to go with it.  It is not easy, but it will bless you and your spouse.  Anyway, at the beginning of the dare I was praying about other marriage building opportunities and the "Weekend to Remember" marriage conferences came to mind!
Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaway
I hastily looked them up and saw that they are all over the US. "There are over 124 different getaway locations to choose from this year. Make a decision to invest in building a stronger marriages for you and for your community.  Learn more about the Weekend to Remember". I found one in Vail Colorado in October and signed up!  However I made sure to start a group so that we can all SAVE HALF OFF THE NORMAL PRICE so if you are interested in doing this great weekend getaway make sure to register soon and use the discount code neeleygroup in the promotions box!  

I can't wait!  I have heard awesome things from friends that have attended.  Here is the proposed schedule..
This is the Vail Marriott in Lionshead where we are headed in October to attend.  Not bad...
Getaway Schedule:

"The format of the weekend combines general sessions (with messages delivered by a three-person speaker team) and designated times set aside for projects to complete as a couple. The "Date Night" on Saturday gives you and your spouse the opportunity to spend a romantic evening alone."


05:00 p.m.                   Sign in to receive getaway manuals and name tags
07:00 - 07:30 p.m         Welcome to your Weekend to Remember®
07:30 - 08:30 p.m         Why Marriages Fail: Identify and understand the five threats to marriage
08:30 - 08:45 p.m.        Break (on your own)             
08:45 - 09:30 p.m.        Can We Talk?  Discuss factors that make communication difficult.
09:30 - 09:50 p.m.        Application project for you and your spouse.


08:00 - 08:30 a.m.         Resource center and ballroom open.
08:30 - 09:20 a.m.         Unlocking the Mystery of Marriage: Realize God's plan for marriage.
09:20 - 09:35 a.m.         Break (on your own)
09:35 - 10:25 a.m.         From How to Wow: Achieve God's plan for marriage by leaving, cleaving, and becoming one flesh.
10:25 - 11:40 a.m.         Application project for you and your spouse
10:25 - 11:40 a.m.         So You Wanna Get Married (Optional premarried session)
11:40 - 12:30 p.m.         What Every Marriage Needs: Marriage is dependent upon your own personal relationship with God. 
12:30 - 02:00 p.m.         Lunch break (on your own)
02:00 - 03:05 p.m.         We Fight Too: Understand how to handle the inevitable conflicts of marriage.
03:05 - 03:20 p.m.         Helping Others 
03:20 - 03:30 p.m.         Break (on your own)
03:30 - 04:30 p.m.         Marriage After Dark: Uncover intimacy from God's perspective.
04:30 - 04:55 p.m.         Help for Today (Optional breakout session) 
04:30 - 05:30 p.m.         Two Become One (Optional premarried session)
Evening                          Date Night**       
**Make Date Night the highlight of your weekend by spending meaningful time together and reclaiming the love and intimacy that is often obscured through the activities of daily living. Rekindle the fire over a candlelight dinner—reserve a romantic table for two. Surprise your spouse with a special gift that you have tucked away in your suitcase. Or simply, hang the "do not disturb" sign outside your door. And, if attending with friends, make sure to reserve this evening just to spend this time together as a couple.


09:00 - 10:30 a.m.         Woman to Woman / Man to Man: God has given husbands and wives different roles and responsibilities.
10:30 - 11:05 a.m.         Hope for Tomorrow (Optional breakout session)
10:30 - 11:15 a.m.         Application project.
11:15 - 12:00 p.m.         How Marriages Thrive: Learn the three essential elements to a healthy marriage.
12:00 - 12:30 p.m.         Leaving a Legacy: Detect and implement your family's legacy.
12:30 p.m.                    Getaway ends

Sounds fun and really WORTH the time and money!  I can't wait !  Hope you join us here or at another location closer to you!  Let me know if you are signing up!  Blessings!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Healthy Baking Substitutes

Just wanted to share these healthy baking tips I found from Picklee .  Coming into baking season soon with fall approaching!

Be sure to check out her great post to see exactly how to make the substitute and what foods they work best in. 

 The measurements are not cup for cup always and there are some baked goods that work better than others.  Just thought you healthy eaters out there would appreciate this!  I have used most of these substitutes but the avocado and the black beans are new ones to me!  Looking forward to trying them out!  For more on sugar substitutes be sure to see my past post The Sweet Stuff Line Up!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Love Dare - Love Takes Delight. Choosing to love rather than being led strictly by emotions.

I have had some crazy days lately that have kept me from blogging as much as usual... Yesterday while trying to transform a little corner of basement hall into homeschool space I  encountered one of the most trying days of motherhood.  It involved a 1/2 gallon of paint poured all of my floors that was being danced in, and 5 paint gallons in my washing machine (fortunately only minimal spillage in the machine) by my 3 year old, a few piles of poo that my 2 year old gifted me in his room only minutes earlier, and general mayhem that would have stressed even Gandhi out!  I didn't cry but that was only because I was too mad.  In my shocked state of panic I forgot to take pictures for you like any good blogger would have.  I wish I had photos now to share the insanity with you, but your imagination will have to suffice.  This paint and poo party came on the heals of a 3 day naughty fest the involved, emptied sunscreen bottles, empty lip gloss, watermelon in bed, stolen peaches from the neighbors yard, bathroom flooding complete with a bevy of cleaning products and hand soap thrown in for good measure, and so much more!  All the doing of my 2 and 3 year olds with the 3 year old at the helm!  Now that I am on the other side it makes a good story, however it did not make for a good afternoon!
The culprits!  It is amazing what feats of naughtiness these 2 innocent looking creatures can accomplish given 5 minutes alone!
I am currently doing the Love Dare as presented by the movie Fire Proof  toward my husband and kids unbeknownst to them.  Sorry to say my kids don't know because I am really not doing that great of a job of it toward them!  My husband is reaping the benefits but never reads my blog or is on facebook so he has no real idea.  Reading today's "Love Dare" (found free on the K Love blog) reminds me why it is so important to do this!

 True love, whether familial or romantic, is all about choices not feelings.  My emotions can get so out of whack after just a few choice moments of mischief on my children's parts that sometimes I forget all about the whole "firm but gentle" thing and go straight for the jugular!  I am so grateful to serve a loving and GRACIOUS God who quickly forgives me, gives me never ending grace and can understand my weakness.  What I love even more than that is the fact that He can enable me to do more than is humanly possible if I will just allow Him to help me through days like yesterday.  I love that He is the power that I don't have.  I will ALWAYS come up short.  I will always have weakness' that overwhelm me, discourage me and embarrass me, but even more important I have a God who is on my side cheering me on, lifting me up, encouraging me and offering me the strength I need to be the parent I want to be.  I don't always call on Him when I should, choosing to let my emotions run me instead at times, but I am grateful that He is always willing, able and there.

I love this quote from today's "Love Dare" (found here)
"In other words, love that chooses to love is just as powerful as love that feels like loving.  In many ways, it’s a truer love because it has its eyes wide open."
I want that!  I want to be loved this way and to love this way.  It is a humble, gentle, others centered way to live that showcases how He first loved us.

Today's dare is simple.  Choose not to do something you normally do so that you can choose to do something with your spouse and/or kids that they want to do.  Leave something undone if necessary to focus on what would bless them and do it with them.  Enjoying them!

I am thinking a tea party with the kids complete with treats, and some time outside in the evening with Josh instead of opting for the TV.  He loves our little yard and his raised beds and really enjoys messing with them so I will make sure to get out there with him tomorrow

You can find the whole "Love Dare" in it's complete form in the KLOVE blog reprinted with full permission for all of us to benefit from.  Great way to practically love your family or friends!  Hope you join in even if it is just for today's dare! No act of kindness is a waste.